Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cold and Flu season?

As much as I try to take care of myself and not get the typical cold and flu that goes around all the time, knowing that I am always touching other keyboards and mice I do take the precautions and thoroughly rinse with antibacterial cleaner at least 5 times a day. But the problem isn't my own cleanliness, it is the fact that when you get on a plane, you are trapped inside a metal tube for hours, breathing in everyone else's sickness and so long as you keep yourself healthy, you should be okay. With recent issues with my dog whereas I was not getting the typical 4 to 5 hours of sleep each night, and the recent blitz to Texas, it now appears I have the doomed cold and flu! Yes, it pretty much wiped me out for the entire day. I have not responded to any mail and phone messages simply because I just don't have the strength. I am blogging about it only because I am hopeful this will reach the masses and if nothing else I can direct all correspondence to this blog so that I am not having to repeat myself. True I am away, but that usually doesn't stop me from being there 24/7 to help out remotely, but for now, please understand that it might be more like 18/5 for a little while.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Fuzzy LCD Monitors

Now that more/most of you have LCD Monitors you should be aware of a simple button (on most monitors) that does an 'auto setup' for you. This is something you should use, well, I suggest whenever you think the screen looks fuzzy. If you have performed a number of software installs and windows updates where you have had to restart your computer, this quite often will be a time when your monitor actually does sort of perform a refresh of its settings however with ClearType technology if you happened to have this turned on. Click here to run the tuner from Microsoft Typography.

If you figure your display driver settings are off you should read my TIP on this to reinstall.

Video Editing Choices with your computer

So you got a new video camera for Christmas and now you want to start doing your own editing. Whether you are new to the concept of editing video or you are a retired video editor, Locker Gnomie Matt Hartley points out a few good tips on what to get and what to NOT get.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Canadian Soldiers-and spam issues.

I have received an email in which it would normally be forwarded as I wish to show my support for our Canadian Soldiers as well, however this is the sort of email message that most 'hackers' attempt to use to send along their Trojans. Why? Because of the content and how it is sure to be forwarded, just as this one was as it was sent from a client. As much as I attempt to explain and educate people on the 'correct way to send/forward email' when sending to more then one person and provide other TIPS to help you help yourself with the optimizing and cleaning of your system after you have done your Internet surfing for the day. The best way to prevent the SPAM and TROJAN HORSE viruses to get in to your system would be to send a 'link' and that's all, to the website in which you initially viewed this sort of message in the first place. If you have a blog or other website and wish to get something out there for others to read/see then posting it to your own site and then sending a link to it works best.

So to explain this easier, below is the initial message/email that I received and of course with any 'chain letter' styled email, they wish for you to forward this on as you want to get the word out there. So, instead of forwarding the email message, now that you have a website that has this information, you can quite easily send the link (the url address) along in the email to whomever and that way they will visit the site to read the message instead of you possibly sending along whatever 'crap' might be attaching itself to your outgoing email, or worse yet, you would be opening this email which has already got the code to infect your computer.

The initial message is below:

Here is a soldier stationed in Afghanistan; stationed in a big sand box. He asked his wife to send him dirt (Canadian soil), fertilizer, and some grass seed so that he can have the sweet aroma, and feel the grass grow beneath his feet. When the men of the squadron have a mission that they are going on, they take turns walking through the grass and the Canadian soil - to bring them good luck.

If you notice, he is even cutting the grass with a pair of a scissors. Sometimes we are in such a hurry that we don't stop and think about the little things that we take for granted.
Upon viewing this, please say a prayer for our Canadian soldiers that give and give (and give up) so unselfishly for us.

It is at this point in the email where they suggest you send this to any and all of your friends/family that you feel should also view it, however now that it is here on a website, all you really need to do is copy the URL (web address) in to a new email message whereas whomever you send the email to, will have a link in which they will click on and be directed to this site. This way you never downloaded anything from anyone and can quite easily pass on a simple address without compromising your own computer!

In case this previous paragraphy got you all confused in just what you are supposed to be sending, the link that you would copy and paste in this case would be:

Friday, January 19, 2007

What is a Trojan Horse and Botnet

People often ask me just what a trojan horse is and what about bots and botnets?
With the most recent outbreak of the 'storm worm' which you can read more about here, will also explain just what it is and how you become part of it.

Hopefully this will help inform you of how you can avoid being part of it and others like it.

Remember to stay current with your spyware/adware cleaners by visiting the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dogs and Deer don't mix

I had somewhat of an emergency last night. It seems my dog went out to the backyard only to be greeted by a few deer enjoying the cedar trees I had planted this past summer. Needless to say the dog went chasing and found out the hard way, how a deer protects itself.

Will be monitoring him for the next while, some major bumps but seems to be "okay"...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Spam is on the slide--sort of.

According to's security blog it appears there has been a reprieve to spam but by just how much? You have to read this article to realize that it isn't going away at all, in fact it is still very much on the rise.

It is no wonder, when people ask me what they can do to prevent spam/spyware and trojan horse viruses from entering in to their system when they are already performing all the scans that have been recommended (by myself, which you can also read about from my OPTIMIZING tip and by visiting the SOFTWARE/SUPPORT page and doing your share in the fight against spyware/malware issues). when you see figures of 80 percent and higher.. it is, in my opinion a war that we are not winning!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

If nothing else works, try re-booting

I have lost track of the calls I have had when something goes wrong and the computer won't let you do anything. If nothing else works and you can't move the mouse or maybe it moves but nothing works when you click on it, nor can you do the normal 're-boot' procedure, then press AND HOLD the power button on your computer until it shuts off. Then when you do restart the computer, windows may (or may not) recognize that it was shut down incorrectly and will go through its own disk scan. This is normal and you should allow it to continue. Once this is done, I highly suggest, run through the spyware and virus scanning programs AFTER you have made sure you are completely up to date with them all. If you are still unsure of what to do, I suggest you read my TIP on OPTIMIZING your computer. THEN contact me if you still have questions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Got a computer problem? I might be able to help remotely.

If your computer has ever hit my bench then odds are I have it set up to be connected remotely in the case of some 'emergency' where I can't get to you right away other then connecting remotely. This has now become not just for emergencies and I am hoping to educate all that this is something that should be done ANY TIME you have a question of something not working right! Take advantage of me, and the remote capabilities of your computer since you are connected to a highspeed connection. If I can connect then I can, in about 75% of the time, get you completely back up and running normally. The other 25% of the time I am finding certain things (mostly trojan horse related viruses) that have installed enough 'bad bugs' that require your computer to need to be worked on 'offline' (off the internet) and in most cases, a few trips in to 'safe mode' on your computer will fix it.

I guess this is where I see things being so frustrating now for me, is that people aren't taking advantage of the remote thing enough. Instead of waiting until you have ten or twenty things wrong, the moment you have a problem, send me an email question about it.. DON'T WAIT until you have so many problems or updates required that it becomes what could be construed as a major job. The problems I am seeing right now with the computers that I am getting connected to, in the most part, they require numerous updates which I don't get completed in one sitting and quite often I will need to connect a number of times. I also attempt to do this while you are not using your computer (typically late at night while you are sleeping), but this too has caused somewhat of a delay for some since they are either late night owls or very early morning birds that don't allow me the time needed to complete it in one shot. No problem as I can get to it the next night... or so I would hope, but then another 'emergency' case comes up and yours gets shuffled to a lower priority.. only because I know what is needed on yours and I know it is not a problem if it goes undone for another day.

This is also where I might add, if you want it fixed NOW then let me know as I can swap your computer out with a loaner and I can get the work done on my bench. Note that when it leaves my bench, you will have a DVD backup image of the entire computer the way it is when it leaves so that you can always restore it to that point in the future if necessary. If you have never had your system backed up then this is something you should seriously be doing as I know how important data is!

So, if you are one of the many that are taking advantage of the remote services all I can say is be patient as I am connecting to as many as I can, when I can. If you aren't one that has had anything done to your computer in the past 3 months, this can be anything from a simple update of your browser, then you should be contacting me and setting things up to be checked out. Don't leave it until your computer is no longer working.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Years Resolutions, Predictions and all that stuff

It seems that I can't go far without reading something about predictions for the year ahead or what resolutions have been made. I did want to blog about the year in review and actually started this on Dec 30 but one thing led to another and my blog ended up being half a book. Realizing as I was doing some proof-reading I realized this is not what a blog should be, especially not for the last one of the year or first one of the new year. Instead I scrubbed the entire entry and decided I would wait until things settled down a little. That is when I realized, sitting here at 4:29am, that things would really never settle down unless I decided to stop what I was working on and get to the blog!

Predictions... the computer will get used even more this year then it did last year. Communication is the key and it will get a big boost with more people switching over to VOIP systems. Integration of your cell phone to your home phone and vica versa will happen to the point that you will only use one device. Oh sure, maybe not completely in the following year, but then again, who knows for sure. When you see the impact such things as the IPOD or any one of the new video game systems have on life today...

I am very hopeful that more people will realize the importance of a blog and how it can only help the lines of communication. As I hope to fill my blog with tips and service helpers I am also going to be leaving a lot of it up to the input I receive from the jobs that I do and will continue to help fix and educate all at the same time!

Remember there are no problems, only solutions!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Correct Way to Send Email

The following is a direct page copy of my tip on the correct way to send (and forward) email.

Back to TIPS
How many times do you receive email with addresses from many other people as well. You know, the joke or chain letter that wants you to forward to all your friends. Or, maybe you have a very important message that you want to send to many people and you would like to do it all in one email. In any case the following information is for you!
Using Outlook Express to explain it, this will work with Outlook or Netscape mail, as well as most other email programs on the market. When you receive a message, lets say a joke, and you want to forward it on this is what you should do.
press forward button which will automatically compose a new message with the contents of the original message as well as a fw: in the subject line and it waits for you to address it.
press the address book button on the TO: in the composition window which will open your address book with your list of contacts.
now create a new email contact by clicking new.
put the name Undisclosed Recipient in for the name and use YOUR email address. Yes, this is the email address you want others to send you mail to.
now place this new contact in the TO box by clicking on the --> arrow or by double clicking on that name from the list.
now for everyone else that you want a copy of the letter to go to, use BCC which is short for BLIND CARBON COPY. What this does is send a copy to the person you have in the BCC list but doesn't show everyone else.
Before you send it, take a look at the contents of the message.. you will notice all the other email addresses from previous deliveries. You can now start at the beginning of the "junk" in the mail and drag your mouse down to the beginning of the REAL MESSAGE. Now that all the junk is highlighted, press DEL on your keyboard. Note the bottom of the email as well, as there is quite often advertising or footers noting ISP information or "get your hotmail now" type of junk that can be removed. Basically you want to send the CONTENT of the email, not all the other stuff.
Now because you have addressed it to Undisclosed Recipient (yourself) and everyone else is in the BCC list then the message will come back to you after you send it. This works good if you want confirmation that your email is going out and is actually being received by someone.
When the recipient gets the message and, lets say it was a great joke, and they too forward it to someone, at least when they do it, (and I am sure they will probably not do it the correct way unless you have already passed this tip on to them), you have removed all other names from the list. up until you got it. Hopefully the more people that read this tip will also start doing this and eventually we will have clean mail.
Oh, on the note of "clean mail".. if you want to really make life simple for yourself and others and don't like having to do this manually (cleaning the mail that is).. why not get the free "email cleaner" program which works great for removing all those ">" in email that has been forwarded over and over again. Check out my SOFTWARE/SUPPORT area for links to downloading this and other useful software.
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